Tag Archives: mame

Putting Ourselves and Our Libraries Out There

Empowering Learners choice of the word Advocacy to anchor this section about making sure that both the school, community and those outside it are aware of what the library does and can do is powerful and effective. Also the mentions of various types of evidence based ways to show what the library is achieving reminds me of our library defense paper. One of the thoughtful choices that was made was in how the evidence based things weren’t just test scores but products like student webpages. I think this addresses an important part of the education world where it can be so easy to fall back on certain type of assessments since that’s what brings in money and support. Other types of assessment can be powerful, but I think it requires a librarian who knows how to explain and how just how key they are, more than just using the shiny tech, but having real thoughtful products.

I found the Elevator Speech article captured just how key it is to be able to quickly get everyone on the same page as you are especially with how rapidly the world of libraries is changing. The exercise from MAME sounded like it was interesting, I would be curious to know what were some of the speeches that people came up with.

In terms of the other article, I was slightly surprised by how defensive the speeches come across as. I heard in them a lot of this is what I’ve done, aren’t I busy, just point me in the right direction. This seems to be the difficult balancing art of school librarians, how do you say what you can do without seeming to push or brag or cross that line between helping and being in the way.

The AASL Toolkit for Advocacy is a wonderful resource, I like how its organized with explanations and clear lists of check with these people and make sure they know this. Just reading through it was calming since it was very clearly saying, here’s a plan and you’re not alone.

My favorite part of the AASL definition is “turning passive support into educated action”, which sums up advocacy so well since its positive and full of action. I like the idea of saying, we know you want to help and support us, here’s how. Same with marketing, its really about serving the community best with the most thoughtful use of resources.

In the other toolkit, I love the idea of you’re a student advocate, I think its something that librarians and teachers can’t hear enough off since its empowering and true. I found this toolkit even more useful than the other one for how it lays out so clearly why and how to be an advocate.

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Professional Development-the trick of how much

During our discussion I was struck by how professional development is something that a librarian can choose to take on and if they wish really focus on yet if they don’t pay attention to it, it won’t be as obvious to anyone else. Since if a school doesn’t have a culture of professional development, there’s no one who will prompt a new librarian or teacher or administrator to continue it. Yet if you’re willing to take up the work then bringing professional development into a school or district can do a huge amount to change for the better and others will be encouraged.

In terms of the example of Michigan and how easy it is to be isolated when there’s not the money for the professional development, I was thinking of how if that kept happening slowly, an administrator might not even be aware of how bad things are. It just creeps up on you as there’s no money for conferences but if there’s nothing to replace them than the school ends up paying heavily. I found it hopeful just how much is now available online so that there are ways to keep learning without the great cost. Also the MAME conference was a good example of bringing the change and development where it needs to be and finding ways to cut the cost but not cut the knowledge that’s brought in. Since it seems like one of the most powerful parts of professional development is being aware of the outside world and how the simple act of interacting with other people who do the same thing in a different place can shift and change how someone might approach a topic.

The other fact I found fascinating is all the various avenues of development that a librarian can choose to focus on from politics, literacy to curriculum and all the various ways that they intersect. It seems like one of the most beneficial things that a librarian could do is find out what they enjoy and what is lacking in their community and work on how best to improve those two things. Since there’s no reason that the development work can’t be enjoyable, because one of the reasons that we choose to become librarians is a desire to keep learning.

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